Writing with Rose- Reducing your Idea to an Elevator Pitch

Remember that blog post about how I got started writing? In the post, I talked about how I got the idea for my debut Young Adult novels,  The Final Life Series. (Non-spoiler alert, it was from a dream). But the concrete steps that actually led me to that idea is an interesting story for any aspiring writer.

For a lot of people, one of the hardest parts about writing is picking something to write about. Why? Because our brains can sometimes be all over the place with a gazillion ideas. Mine was! (Still is, but that’s a topic for another day). A wise author friend suggested, back when I was first starting out, I should reduce my book idea to an elevator pitch. She said doing this would help me discover the premise of the story. 

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Let’s dive in and start with defining elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is how you would describe your book in one short sentence to someone in a quick elevator ride. The pitch is designed to get the person to want to know more, and eventually buy, your book. The elevator pitch is used in various businesses all the time. As a writing tool, it’s gold for helping you discover the foundation of your story. Gold, I tell ya! 

I started developing my elevator pitch by boiling down the plot lines of several books. Here’s what I mean, starting with my book:

A girl tracked and hunted for lifetimes fights for her survival.
Final Life

A girl falls in love with a guy who turns out to be a vampire. 
Twilight

A writer goes insane in a hotel that’s closed for the winter.
The Shining

An astronaut stranded on Mars has to figure out how to survive.
The Martian

You get the gist. Now, think about what you want to write about. Close your eyes if it helps. Really narrow it down in your mind to the most basic idea. Got it? Here's the fun part...pretend we’re in an elevator. Just the two of us. We start chatting and I discover you want to, or are writing, a book. I ask you what it’s about. What’s your elevator pitch?

Think about that pitch and tell it to some friends for their opinion, would they want to buy and read it?  If so, why?  If not, why not? Developing that baseline pitch will help guide you for next month's post, how to build on your nugget of an idea and get started on the road to becoming a published author. 

Do You Want to Write a Book?

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How many times have you heard someone say they want to write a book? Probably plenty. Well, I was no different. I was always saying I wanted to write a book. It was a mantra of mine from elementary school, through high school, and then later into college. But then, when I went to law school, that mantra faded away. It became edged out by my studies, my pursuit of a career, and then, later, growing a family. But every once in a while, those six little words would enter my mind.

I want to write a book...

One Christmas, my husband gave me a handheld recorder so I could start on that book. It was so cool how he reminded me of my dream when I had all but forgotten. And so, after leaving the practice of law and dabbling in other businesses, I decided to chase my dream.

At first, I wanted to write about my family but quickly dismissed that idea because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Then I remembered a series of dreams I had in college about being chased by an evil entity. In one dream, I was standing in a red desert. The evil entity was behind me, holding a knife to my throat. Staring at my computer, I began to think about that dream and I started wondering...Who is the girl? Why is she in the red desert? Who is the evil entity? Why does it want to kill her?

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Those dreams became The Final Life Series, a young adult four-book saga about a girl who’s had multiple past lives and is fighting to survive her final life. Featuring gut-wrenching emotional turmoil and edge-of-your-seat action, these books will keep you on the edge of your seat! To say I’m proud of these books would be a huge understatement, and writing them has been the most challenging yet rewarding experience of my life.

Since I can’t pack in all my writing advice in one blog, stay tuned for bi-weekly installments on the writing and publishing process. If I can write a book, you can too! It’s never too late!

(This post can also be found at www.letsgrowgirl.com where I'm a contributor)